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Paro, Thimphu & Punakha 7 Days & 6 Nights

Gateway to Bhutan | Top Destinations to visit Bhutan for Himalaya Tours

This cultural tour is ideal for those wishing to enter Bhutan from the Indian state of Western Bengal via the southern overland border gateway of Phuentsholing. Beginning with a breathtaking journey on roads surrounded by lush green tea plantations with breathtaking views of the Himalayan foothills, this tour explores the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys. Enjoy the many cultural sites of Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital including the National Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the arts and crafts school and Tashichhoedzong before crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible the Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’.

Brief Explore Bhutan Summary

  • Excursion to Paro Taktsang.
  • Visit Chimi Lhakhang.
  • Visit Punakha Dzong.
  • Visit to Changangkha Lhakhang.
  • Memorial Chorten and Tashichho Dzong, Central of Administration.

Tour Highlights

Day 1 and 2 - Paro

Today be firm to hike to Takshang Lhakhang also called "Tiger's Nest Monastery" - one of the most famous monastery in Bhutan, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, so it is called "Tiger's Nest". This site is recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visit by all Bhutanese at least once in their life time. En-route if time permits we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang - one of the oldest and most sacred shrine of the Kingdom dating back to 7th Century, Drukyel Dzong - with a delightful village nestling at its foothill, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear weather one can see the commanding view of Mount Jhomolhari from the village, below the Dzong. Overnight in Paro.

Day 3 - Paro to Thimphu

Checkout from the hotel, drive to Thimphu- the capital town of Bhutan and the centre of Government, religion and commerce. It is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. On arrival we will visit Memorial Chorten (from outside) - this stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan 's third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Afterwards visit Changakha Monastery, Mothinthang zoo, Viewpoint, Handicraft Emporium & National Library - Bhutan's history imprinted in archaic texts are preserved in the National Library. Besides thousands of ancient Buddhist manuscript, it also has modern academic books & printing blocks for prayer flags. Then proceed to Tashicho Dzong (This Dzong can visit only after 5 pm in summer) - also known as "fortress of the glorious religion" was built in 1641 and later rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses main secretariat building and it also has the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 4 - Thimphu to Punakha

Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned. After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenley who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

Day 5 - Punakha to Thimphu to Paro

In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before exploring the bustling town of Wangduephodrang. Visit the market and Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. In the 17th century Wangduephodrang played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country. Drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 6 - Thimphu Sightseeing

Morning visit the weekend market (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday), Handmade paper Mill, School of Arts and crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan, Lunch in town. Enclosure where national animal, Takin are kept and Zilukha Nunnery. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 7 - Depart Paro

Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

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